Dance, Fools, Dance

Watch Dance, Fools, Dance

"She Dances Her Way from the Gayest Social Whirl to Grimmest Underworld!"
  • NR
  • 1931
  • 1 hr 20 min
  • 6.3  (1,206)

Dance, Fools, Dance is a 1931 pre-code drama film directed by Harry Beaumont and starring Joan Crawford, Cliff Edwards, and Lester Vail. The movie tells a gripping story that is still relevant today, following the life of Bonnie Jordan (Crawford), a wealthy young socialite who loses everything overnight after her father commits suicide amid financial ruin.

The film opens with a party at the Jordan family home, where Bonnie is surrounded by her friends and wealthy suitors. Bonnie's father, Howard Jordan, is struggling to keep his business afloat, and his troubles come to a head when he is exposed for embezzling money. Howard takes his own life, and Bonnie is left to pick up the pieces. She discovers that her father had squandered their fortune, leaving her with nothing but debts and an uncertain future.

At first, Bonnie struggles to come to terms with her new reality. She has to leave her luxurious lifestyle behind and rely on the kindness of others. However, Bonnie's determination and resilience soon shine through. She takes a job as a dancer in a night club, where she meets and falls in love with a young reporter named Bob Townsend (Edwards). Bob is writing an exposé on the night club scene and the gangsters who run it. He sees Bonnie's potential and encourages her to use her platform to expose the corruption and violence that plague the industry.

The film takes a dark turn when Bonnie's wealthy ex-boyfriend, cotton heir Bert Ballin (Vail), enters the picture. Bert is involved with the same gangsters that Bob is investigating, and he is determined to win Bonnie back at any cost. When Bonnie refuses his advances, Bert frames her for a murder and has her arrested. Bonnie's world is turned upside down once again, but she doesn't stay down for long. With Bob's help, she fights to clear her name and bring the real criminals to justice.

Dance, Fools, Dance is a fascinating snapshot of the pre-code era, when Hollywood was pushing the boundaries of what could be shown on screen. The film includes scenes of drug use, sexuality, and violence that would become more regulated as the film industry adjusted to the strict Production Code in the years ahead. However, it's not all shock value - the film also tackles serious issues such as corruption, classism, and the consequences of greed.

One of the highlights of Dance, Fools, Dance is Joan Crawford's performance as Bonnie. Crawford was already known as a rising star in Hollywood, but this film cemented her status as a leading lady. Bonnie is a complex character who undergoes a major transformation over the course of the movie, and Crawford handles the role with grace and nuance. She is both vulnerable and fierce, a survivor who never loses her dignity.

The supporting cast also shines in Dance, Fools, Dance. Cliff Edwards brings a charming energy to the role of Bob, while Lester Vail is appropriately slimy as Bert Ballin. The film also features strong performances from William Bakewell as Bonnie's brother Rodney, and Clark Gable in one of his earliest roles as the gangster Jake Luva.

Overall, Dance, Fools, Dance is a compelling drama that still holds up today. It's a must-see for fans of classic Hollywood, and for anyone who appreciates a good story about resilience and justice.

Dance, Fools, Dance is a 1931 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3.

Dance, Fools, Dance
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 20 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (1,206)